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Former Norwegian PM held in US over Iran visa

OSLO: A former Norwegian prime minister said he was held at a Washington airport for one hour because of an Iranian visa in his passport, an incident he described as “provocative”. 

“There is no reason to be afraid of a former head of government who has been on official visits several times to this country, including in the White House,” Kjell Magne Bondevik, 69, told Norwegian broadcaster TV2 on Thursday.

Bondevik, who served as prime minister twice between 1997 and 2005, said immigration authorities held him on Tuesday for an hour and questioned him over an Iranian visa in his diplomatic passport.

Iran is one of seven Muslim-majority countries whose nationals are temporarily banned from entering US territory in accordance with a controversial decree signed by Trump.

The head of human rights organisation Oslo Centre, Bondevik flew to the US on Tuesday to attend a yearly event in Washington DC called the “National Prayer Breakfast”. US President Donald Trump also attended the event.

“It seems that if the name of this country or other countries appears, you stick out,” Bondevik said, referring to Iran.

“It’s a totally unjustified suspicion. I think it was pretty provocative,” Bondevik added.

The former Christian Democrat leader returned to Norway on Friday.




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